tv [untitled] May 23, 2011 1:00pm-1:30pm PDT
in here that's at about 40 degrees. we'll rase the temperature to the low 60s. we'll add some heat. >> and steve said they've steadily seen an increase in avocado consumption. on average, each american now consumes about 3 avocados per year, but steve thinks that will increase to 5 or 6 avocados within the next couple of years. so whether you try avocados in guacamole at your next party, or try them to support farmers like the bruces, the time is indeed ripe to try some california avocados today. for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. well, that is gonna do it for e show today. if you have any questions about anything you've seen, check out our website at californiacountry.org. and we'll see you again next week on "california country." [captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation]
>> good afternoon, everybody. it's great to see all of you here today, great to see district 3 represented and the full diversity of our district. first let me welcome you to this town hall. as i've done in the last three years, every three to six months we go to different neighborhoods to have a conversation with our neighborhoods about issues that are concerning us. what we want to do today is to have a conversation on whatever people want to talk about, but in particular about the budget. i think all of you know that this year, which is similar to what we've experienced in recent years, we have another structural budget deficit that we need to balance.
almost every year for the past 10 years, the city and county of san francisco has worked toward balancing our budgets. over the past two years, i've had the opportunity to do that with mayor gavin newsom. last year, the year before, we had a budget deficit in each of those years around a half a billion dollars. this year, fortunately, the budget deficit number is smaller it's roughly $280 million, or minus a little bit. of balancing this year's budget has been a bit morel!ii difficun part because the fact is this year we haven't had the one-tim9 solutions that we've often used in years past. in recent years, we've been able to rely on federal stimulus money, on money from the state. we've been able to rely on increasing fees, which this year we can't do given a recent upon session that passeproposition ts
november. so even though the number is smaller, it's more difficult to do that. in the last couple of months -- first, i want to welcome our mayor. thank you no being here as part of this. [applause] as you probably know, mayor lee was appointed in january to serve this year as our city's mayor. he's committed to a collaborative process with the community as we are developing our budget. i really need to applaud him for attending budget town halls like this -- [applause] i really need to thank him for attending budget town halls like this all over the city so that our department heads and our elected officials can take feedback as he and the executive branch are planning what they want to propose on june 1st. on june 1st, mayor lee will be
presenting his budget that the board of supervisors will be able to take and through the budget committee process, through june and the early part of july we will discuss where we want the budget to go. with that, i'd like to ask mayor lee if he has any opening remarks. and then we have obviously other representatives from city government who will say a few words. mayor lee. >> thank you. thank you, board president and district 3 supervisor, david chu. this is my tenth town hall meeting. i'm still energized. i'm very glad that it's here, combining our post street, chinatown, north beach, that sector, and i'm happy to listen intently to what all of the residents in every neighborhood want to tell government about their priorities. so i want to, first of all, thank all of you for being here,
because it does take out from your day'jykyoi to involve you, but it also makesd9 q me smile o see so many peopleepg< here, bee that means that you will really are concerned, you want to engage with your local is important. that's important to me. so i want to thank all of you who are2+q i also want to thank the hilton, a really good partner in this, because they've done so many things, offering up your space, jeff. thank you once again for doing this. you're a good partner. i know you do things for our chinese new years, for even m.t.a. when they did the hearings for getting bidders to do bidding on our central subway. you had them here as well, so many other events. so i want to thank you, thank the chinese cultural center for allowing us to be here today. i want to give a shout out to the civic engagement team from the city administrator's office. they've been at every one of our
10 town hall meetings making sure not only everybody is heard, but they understand what is going on, because the people don't understandnvv what's going on, then these meetings are not useful to them. having the ability to have that translation done is something supervisor chu and i worked hard to get the funding for that. thank you for that service. we have representatives from the budget office, from the recreation and park department, from our human services department, as well as our police captain, captain cashman from our central police station is here to answer what you may want answered. most of tonight will allow you to tell us what you think is
important. it's important that we listen that, we listen carefully. you know, my style of management has been, i try my very best to take what i've heard, to translate it into action from city government. i want to do that constantly, as much as i can, because then i think you have more trust in what government's all about, and you will engage yourself more and more. so i want to just begin by saying that the instructions that we've had -- i know henry alvarez, please come on up, henry. he's the director of our public housing, our housing authority as well, he'll be on the panel, along with all of our otheráqáq. and there will be several more people coming, i we're about to make important decisions on budget priorities. we have a deficit, and have to cut the budget from our city. how we cut it, how we trim it,
make this gap disappear so that we have a balanced budget, which is my ultimate responsibility to present to the board of supervisors, and then have them work with me to make sure on july 1st that we balance our budget, is that i must present a balanced budget to them, and then have the board of supervisors engage with my office about what we can do to settle the differences. and in doing so, i've given instructions to all 60 city departments, making sure that their budgets reflect the values of the city, and to also make sure they reflect some of the priorities that i've given them. what i've said to the departments, that i want a budget that reflects a safe city, safe in that all of the residents here can feel that they live and they work in a very, very good city that's safe for them and their families, that's the public safety sense,
but also safe in the sense that we have a core level of services that we provide that are helpful to people in need. and that core level of the social network of services that we can provide will also produce a very safe community in san francisco. i also want a budget that reflects that our city is solvent, that we have programs that we can pay for, and that will mean -- i've said this in every town hall meeting -- i'm working so hard with all of our departments and the labor unions to make sure that we have a pension partnership for public employees that is solvent in and of itself that does not cut into the general fund of our city as does it now, to the tune of over $125 million. we have to straighten out our pension system so that it doesn't hurts. we can do that without hurting our labor unions interests, and also without hurting retired
employees. we canning balance that in the right way with everybody's attention, but we need to focus on it this year. i'm very exited to doing that, and presenting hopefully a unified voice on this with the boards for the november ballot. that's reflective of a principle to make our city solvent. finally i want to make our city successful. successful means basically reaching back to what brought all of you here to san francisco, what made you come here whether you're immigrants or people who moved from another city, people who moved just across the bay to come to san francisco. what made you attracted to the city were things that attracted me. good housing, good schools, good events, good cultural institutions that are reflective of all of our diverse cultures. all of those things that made our city wonderful, including being part of an international city, a city that understands
all of the diverse cultures that we represent. i know many of you came and struggled to be here because you know the city is a wonderful, wonderful city to raise our families in, to raise your kids in. your kids are like my kids. we're very proud of this city, because it is so great at all the cultural institutions, so wonderful in its support for its education. we want the city to continue being successful, so-so as the board of supervisors works together to maintain wonderful jobs, jobs like the twitter company will over or zenga, all the other wonderful companies locating here, or traditional jobs like wells fargo, all the established companies have been here for many years doing wonderful things with us, when they have job openings, that we allow those jobs to make sure that san francisco residents get them first. that's why i've been such a powerful supporter of local hire to make sure that we have
chances at all these jobs for our kids, for our relative people who made the sacrifice to be here. so safe city, a solvent city, a successful city is the instructions i've given to the departments. they're doing their very, very best, whether it's the recreation department, the budget department working hard with me, or our social services, all of the other departments represented here, they're doing their very, very best. having said that, many of you have been to other of our town hall budget meetings. and i want to let you know tonight, we have been hearing from you. we want you to know that we are listening. we are already making decisions before we even go to the board of supervisors to reflect how important some of the things you've indicated are. i want you to know tonight that for many of you who are
seniors -- i mentioned this when we talked about a safe city -- you have represented your interests, and the community's interests very, very well in almost every one of our town hall meetings. we've heard you, the budget office, all the departments, have h.s.a. to the department of aging have heard as well, have talked already, and we're beginning to move on those recommendations that you made time and time again. i want to announce tonight that some of the ideas that you presented, in particular nutrition programs for seniors will definitely be restored in this year's budget for the fourth coming year. that's the reflection of the advocate that you brought. i want to let you know that. some of the youth programs that already are in discussion, particularly aimed at our summer youth. we'll have enough money to hire even more youth this summer. we don't want youth idle throughout any part of the summer. so we're listening closely and acting on those. in the next few weeks, you're going to be hearing before we
submit the budget to the board some of the things you've already advised us to do. those are some of the examples we're moving on. we will move on others that have built consensus with our staff. we will also be getting very important input from each member of the board of supervisors to make sure i'm listening to the board, too, because we want all as much agreement up front, so that you do not have to spend too much time coming out to the board of supervisors. hopefully we have made decisions that reflect your priority as well. so with that, i'd like to turn that back over to supervisor david chu. >> thank you, mayor lee. [applause] and before we continue, i also want to thank the host of today, the hilton and the chinese cultural center. i want to thank all the neighborhood leaders who are here, all the nonprofit leaders who are here, all of you who are doing so much to improve and work on our community.
what we'd like to do right now is first hear from the mayor's budget office for a few minutes to give an overall picture of our budget situation. and then i'd like to ask all the various departments here to briefly introduce themselves probably in about a minute about the department that you're representing and some of the priorities that you are focused on during this budget process. and then at that point we are going to open up the forum to hear from all of you. the whole point of this town hall is for us as your elected officials, as well as your public servants, to hear from the public on what you think the priorities out to be for the city, particularly with regards to this budget. think about questions you'd like to ask or comments you'd like to make. unfortunately our budget director had a family emergency, his son was ill, so he sent his able deputy rick. i'd like to turn the mike over to you for a presentation.
>> thank you, supervisor. i want to put our budget deficit in context as the mayor and the supervisor pointed out last month the controller's office and the mayor's office, we wished our three-year budget projection that showed a $306 million budget deficit for next year. the city's total budget is $6.5 billion, $306 doesn't sound like a lot to tackle, but out of the $6.5 billion total city budget, only $3 billion of that is general fund. we're working with $3 billion in our general fund. in that $3 of general fund, once you take out our pension obligations, our voter-approved mandated spending on public education, the m.t.a., that
really only leaves about $1.2 billion left that we have to work with. so $306 million out of a $1.2 billion available budget to work with, that's about 25% of our total city budget that we have to cut out of our general fund supported operations. so that is -- that's a pretty significant chunk of our budget. and what is -- what's in that $1.2 billion that we have to work with are our public safety departments, our police department, our sheriff's department, and our public health department, health and human services agency, department of children, youth and their families. these are the critical services that i think our residents depend on. that's what makes up the vast majority of that $1.2 billion we're looking at when we're trying to solve our budget budgt
deficit. we have difficult decisions ahead of us to make over the next few weeks. and you may have heard just earlier this week the nine-month budget status update for the current year, that showed good news. there's no doubt that we're seeing some stabilizing in our economy, and our revenues are looking up, and that's a good thing. that's a good thing. we have $45 million more than in the current year we thought we had to work with, that's certainly welcome news, but it doesn't fundamentally change the picture we're facing for next year, the fact we have difficult decisions to make in balancing the budget. i want have people keep in mind that even though next year is looking a little bit better than we had thought, we also, in addition to the nine-month report, we also issued our five-year financial plan just last week. over the next five years, there's continued discrepancy, in fact a growing gap, between
our revenues and expenditures. even though our revenues are growing, we're seeing signs of recovery, we still have a significant problem ahead of us unless we can get our costs under control, because no matter what we -- how we kind of look at our projections and revenues, and they are growing, they're not growing fast enough to keep pace with our expenses. the biggest driver of those expenses is our employee costs. our wages and benefits. as the mayor said, you know, we need to address those structural problems in our budget to bring fiscal stability back to the city. and so that's why we're undertaking initiatives like pension reform. that's an important part of our strategy over the next five years for bringing the city's budget back into balance. so to address these problems, the mayor has been meeting with lots of -- you know, community-based organizations and community groups over the past few months.
dozens of community meetings and town halls, and right now where we are in the process is that we're kind of taking that feedback and working with the board of supervisors to figure out what our budget submission is going to be on june 1st. two weeks from now the mayor will issue his proposed budget based on the feedback he's gotten from community-based organizations and the board of supervisors. at that point the budget will be in the board's hands, and they'll have to take it from there. again, in the next two weeks we have difficult decisions to make. we want to do things that will help us in the long term, not just solve next year's problem, but also put us on a solid footing for the next five years to come. >> so at this time i'd like to ask each of the department representatives here if you could identify yourself and speak for just a moment on some of your agency's priorities during this budget period. why don't we walk to the end and
start with the m.t.a. >> good afternoon, everybody. i'm from the m.t.a. and unlike most of the city departments, we actually have a two-year budget. so our budget for 2012 is not being opened up. but as you know, we've had some service lux reductions, and we'e working hard to put service back. we've also got some -- we're trying to address, of course, the central subway project, not in our operating budget, but the capital budget, but working to add pedestrian and bicycle improvements to the city. we do have a closed budget for fiscal '12, but includes service reductions in there. we have a slight increase for fares in fiscal '12. it's about a dollar increase, most passes are $2 increases, but that's the automatic indexing policy that we've approved at the m.t.a. board.
other than that, there's not much to tell you about the m.t.a. budget, unless you have specific questions. so thank you. >> good afternoon, everyone. my name is maria. i'm going to stand so that i can see you. i'm director of the department of family youth and their pharmacist the goal for our department is -- and their families. the goal for our department is to make sure that services for children age birth to 24 is provided throughout the city wept fund programs such as the childcare, youth and teen programs, after-school programs, and violence prevention programs. our budget priority is simple. we do not want to destroy, to break, to interrupt any of those core safety nets that weave already established over -- we've already established over the years, things we want to continue. we're working hard with the mayor's office to identify ways
for us to make that happen. you know, i don't think they want to hear me. >> they're happy to hear you. >> oh, is that the indication? right now we're looking at a 10% reduction, which equals $2.5 million, and an additional 10% reduction, another $2.5 million. we believe that we can get to these reduction strategies by eliminating one-time funding that we received in our department. so these are one-time funding that would have gone away at the end of this fiscal year anyways. and we believe that by cutting those programs, or that funding, the one-time funding, we are protecting the continuation of all of those other programs. of course i'm here to answer other questions. >> good afternoon.
my name is phil arnold. i'm the deputy director for finance and administration for the human services agency. with me is denise chung, our manager of the office on aging, which provides services to seniors in san francisco. we are the agency that provides the social safety net for san francisco. what makes it's a more livable city. specifically what does that mean? we provide service to low-income families, to foster youth, to housing and homeless. we provide subsidized housing. we provide jobs for low-income residents. we have a summer youth employment program for the second year in a row where we will be employing 240 low-income youth. we provide general assistance, and of course we provide services to seniors and the disabled. our budget reduction target for this year was $18 million. the first half of that we achieved by basically belt-tightening and administrative efficiencies we could come up with.
the second half was tougher. that really did eat into services. we're very grateful today that some of those services have already been restored, the nutrition services for seniors. our target is to preserve and protect the core services, food, jobs, income security, housing, and basic services to seniors and the disabled. denise, do you want to -- >> good afternoon. my name is denise chung. i'm with the office on the aging. we provide services to seniors and adults with disabilities. we contract with about 49 contractors, and among them is -- we provide a lot of services to the seniors and adults with disabilities, which include nutrition program, senior center services, naturalization, case management, and many others, about 20 of them. i'm very grateful to hear mayor lee today that all-be restoring
the nutrition services. thank you very much. we still have cuts on the other -- almost all the programs attached, and we're waiting still for the final decision from the mayor's office. >> hi, everybody. good afternoon. i'm the general manager of your recreation and park department. we have the great pleasure of stewarding over 4,000 acres of open space around the city, including 220 neighborhood parks and several really fantastic jewels in district three. our priorities are very simple. we want clean, safe, fun parks for everyone. and vibrant, robust, healthy recreational opportunities for all. it is widely known that our department has had its share of budget challenges over the last seven years. we've been asked to either cut or raise nearly $43 million from our operating budget. financial sustainability, making sure we can keep our pools and rec centers open, our parks clean and safe, is our priority.
it is also our priority to make sure that no one is denied an opportunity to participate in our recreational programming, and we're very proud of our new recreational model and our very, very robust scholarship program. despite the challenges that i'm sure will be discussed today on -- with respect to our operating budgets, there's a lot of exciting things happening on our capital side. the chinese rec center is undergoing a fantastic renovation, which we hope to have complete by the fall of 2012. it will result in over 30,000 new square feet of fantastic recreation space. we have a number of other exciting capital projects going on in the district, too. thank you. >> good afternoon. i'm the chief finance officer for the health department. i'm very proud to be here representing the department of public health. we have the largest department in the city. we have a -- the largest total budget.
we also have the largest amount of discretionary general fund within our budget, so consequently we received the largest budget reduction target this year. our target is almost $70 million. we are very fortunate, though. in that in december of this past year, the state and federal government approved a new medi-cal plan that for public hospitals in particular, bringing us a significant apt of additional revenue this year and next year. as a canadiens, we've been able to close 60 million of our $70 million budget with revenues and other efficiencies. we were able to close most of the reduction target. we are still looking at some reductions as we go forward here. we have about $9 million of service reductions. with those reductions we've been working constantly with our stakeholders, with our community
providers, and we've been obviously attending all of our town halls, working with the mayor's office and the board of supervisors to find the least harmful way, if we are required to make cuts, to try to effect those reductions in services. i'd be happy to answer questions you have as we go forward. obviously our priority is to protect the health of all san franciscans. that's our mission. we're working hard to finish the rebuild of san francisco general hospital, which thanks to all of the voters who supported our bond measure. we recently moved into a brand-new facility at laguna honda, state-of-the-art facility, thanks to the support of our voters here in san francisco. we're happy to have the support from all of you and from our city partners. thank you. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm the captain of central police